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Current Students

PhD Students

Radwan Alnajjar

Radwan Alnajjar obtained his Bachelors (graduating first in his class) and Masters of Science degrees from the University of Benghazi (Libya) in 2009 and 2013, respectively. Currently, he is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at UCT under the supervision of Prof. Kelly Chiable as well as organic chemistry lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Benghazi. His current research work focuses on drug discovery for the treatment of tropical and neglected tropical diseases. He is also interested in studying the electronic properties and the potential of nanotubes as drug carriers using computational methods.

 

Henrietta Dede Attram

Henrietta Dede Attram is a PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at the UCT under the supervision of Prof. Kelly Chibale. She initially enrolled for MSc degree in 2017 but was offered the opportunity to upgrade to a PhD program due to her hard work and unrelenting work ethics. She graduated from the University of Ghana in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Her current research work involves conceptualizing drug discovery projects to design pharmaceutically relevant and novel chemotypes for tropical and neglected tropical diseases.

 

Cleavon Cloete

 

 

Cleavon Cloete completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Stellenbosch and was awarded a BSc in molecular biology and biotechnology with a specialisation in biochemistry and microbiology. He subsequently completed a BMedSc Honours degree at the University of Cape Town specialising in clinical pharmacology, with his project focusing on the ADME properties and cytochrome P450 (CYP) mediated metabolism of a potential novel malaria drug. In 2019 he completed his master’s studies in clinical pharmacology at the University of Cape Town. His project work was based on the development and partial validation of bioanalytical methods for the measurement of CYP activity in human liver microsomes with the use of probe substrates. He is currently enrolled as a PhD candidate in the department of chemistry at the University of Cape Town where he is pursuing a project investigating drug exposure and metabolite profile in the African population by means of physiologically based pharmacokinetic modelling.
His research interests include drug metabolism and CYP enzyme kinetics as well as the broader field of pharmacokinetics. He has a great interest in preclinical drug development with a specific focus of his to hopefully help in lowering the disease burden on the African continent.

 

Samuel Njoroge Gachuhi

Samuel Gachuhi obtained his Bachelor and Master of Science in Chemistry degrees from Moi University and the University of Nairobi (Kenya) in 2009 and 2017, respectively before joining KC Lab. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. work focusing on design and development of antimalarial kinase inhibitors. Generally, his research interests are in drug discovery, particularly for treatment of tropical and neglected tropical diseases.

 

 

 

 

Stephanie Kamunya

 

Miss Stephanie Kamunya received her BSc degree (First Class Honours) in both Chemistry and Mathematics from the University of Nairobi. She is currently studying for her doctoral degree in medicinal chemistry under the co-supervision of FLAIR Research Fellow Dr. Lauren Arendse. 
She is also a Gold Award Holder awarded by the President of the Republic of Kenya in 2017. 
Her work involves the incorporation of computational techniques in drug discovery and is mostly focused on target-based methods.  This includes data analysis towards mitigating liabilities in the development of chemical series, such as toxicity. 
Being a St John Ambulance volunteer for nearly a decade, she has first-hand experience on what lack of access to medicine does to a community. She hopes to use her expertise to make healthcare more available and affordable to vulnerable and impoverished communities.

 

Constance Korkor

 

Constance Mawunyo Korkor received her BSc in Chemistry from the University of Ghana in 2016 where her honours research focused on the extraction, isolation and characterisation of bioactive compounds from traditional Ghanaian medicinal plants. She joined the University of Cape Town to study towards the award of a Master’s degree, where she was later upgraded to PhD based on academic merit. 
In the Kelly Chibale academic lab, her research project focuses on elucidating the mechanisms of action of phenotypic whole-cell active antimalarial leads generated in the lab and identifying their molecular targets using proteomics, genomics and drug localisation studies. She is supervised by Professors Kelly Chibale and Timothy Egan. 
In future Constance hopes to be part of a trans-national effort to improve the quality of life and wellbeing for all and to contribute meaningfully to healthcare systems around the world.

 

    Nina Lawrence

         

 

 

 

 

 

Nina Lawrence obtained her BSc and BSc(Hons) degrees from the University of Cape Town in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2007 she worked as a forensic analyst in Toxicology at the Forensic Chemistry Laboratory in Cape Town. She moved to the UK in 2008 and took up a position as laboratory and QA manager at MizkanUK, which included managing the day-to-day activities in the ISO certified food laboratories and micro laboratory. In 2009 Nina went back to academia, where she worked as the laboratory supervisor of the Chemical Analytical Laboratory in the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at Stellenbosch University, and was involved with the analysis of wine and multiway analysis of data for prediction and correlation studies to aid in wine making and labelling. Nina obtained her MSc in analytical chemistry and wine biotechnology from Stellenbosch University in 2012. In June 2011, she joined H3D and played a significant role in setting up the ADME platform, and later led the platform from 2013 until the end of 2020. She was a core project member on many of H3D’s projects and helped to drive projects to achieve key milestones from hit identification to candidate selection of compounds with optimal ADME properties. She is currently doing her PhD with Prof. Kelly Chibale at the University of Cape Town. Her thesis focuses on the metabolism of drugs and conducting human efficacious dose predictions. Nina has recently been appointed as a DMPK Design Leader at AstraZeneca in Sweden, where she advises the project teams on the optimization of DMPK properties of compounds, performs early human dose predictions and creates and implements an ADME strategy to ensure candidate drugs. Nina has co-authored more than 25 peer-reviewed journal articles.

 

Mokhitli Morake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mokhitli Morake graduated with a BSc in Biochemistry and Chemistry (UCT) in 2011 and obtained a BSc in Medicine specializing in Medical Biochemistry (Hons) (UCT) in 2012. It is during his honours project, focusing on anticancer effects of ajoene analogues, under the supervision of Dr Cathrine Kaschula and Prof Iqbal Parker in the ICEGB that he developed passion for drug discovery. In 2013 Mokhitli took an internship as a chemical analyst at the CSIR (Cape Town) under the National Research Foundation internship program. He moved to North-West University (NWU) in 2014 where he joined an institution as a laboratory technician under the MRC MAL-TB Redox Flagship project. In 2015 he enrolled for MSc in Pharmaceutical chemistry under the supervision of Prof David N’Da and Prof Richard Haynes working on a project focused on synthesis of artemisinin-cholesterol conjugates as both anti-malarial and anti-tuberculosis agents. This work was later published, and he obtained MSc with distinction in May 2017. In March 2017 Mokhitli took a position as a Scientific Officer in H3D and worked on several projects within the medicinal chemistry team developing antimalarials and anti-tuberculosis compounds. After 14 months in H3D, Mokhitli joined the academic group of Prof Kelly Chibale as a PhD student. He is currently working on a project researching the development of antimalarial agents targeting the Co-enzyme A biosynthesis pathway. His project is also investigating benzoxaboroles as antimalarial agents. His future research interests include understanding the mode of action of drugs and their impact on cellular pathways in the areas of cancer, malaria, tuberculosis and diabetes drug discovery.    

                        Ferdinand Ndubi

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Ferdinand is a  trained pharmacist, having graduated with a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B.Pharm) degree from the University of Nairobi in Kenya in 2010. After a short stint as a practicing pharmacist, he joined the University of Cape Town in 2014 for a MSc degree in Chemistry under the supervision of Prof. Kelly Chibale and Prof. Mino Caira. His MSc research involved synthesis, supramolecular derivatization, and pharmacological evaluation of antimalarial pyridobenzimidazoles to optimize their antimalarial activity and physico-chemical properties. He obtained his MSc in 2016. Since then he has been serving as lecturer and researcher at the department of pharmaceutical chemistry, school of pharmacy, Kabarak University in Kenya.
Currently, he is enrolled as a  PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Chibale and Drs. John Woodland and Kathryn Wicht. His research interest covers the broad area of drug discovery and development, specifically in the area of malaria as well as other neglected tropical diseases. Having worked as a hospital pharmacist in Kenya, he is has seen first-hand the challenges associated with inadequate safe and efficacious treatment options for malaria. He hopes to utilize his PhD studies and future research efforts to contribute to the discovery and development of novel safe and effective treatment options for neglected tropical diseases.

 

 

Lynn Wambua

Lynn Wambua obtained her BSc in Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rhodes University in 2014 and she completed her BSc(Hons) in Biochemistry in 2015. She obtained her Masters degree in 2017 and is currently pursuing her PhD under the supervision of Professor Timothy Egan and co-supervised by Professor Kelly Chibale. Her project focuses on investigating and characterising Plasmodium haem detoxification protein and PI4K structure-function relationships. Lynn is passionate about understanding the complex nature of the malaria parasite and hopes to make a valuable contribution to malaria drug discovery efforts.